TEC: Chapter 10 and Chapter 11: Switcheroo

Oh, Bob Phillips, why do you play me this way?  Here I was all set to see each chapter in Europa matched in the same chapter in Ararat, as proof of the paint-by-number nature of these books, and now you go and switch things up on me!

See, Chapter 10 in Ararat is another ark lecture, and Chapter 11 catches us up with Talon.  It’s the reverse in Europa.

And Europa’s Chapter 10 is utterly useless, as Talon makes his way back to the Seven (they’ll stop at nothing!).  There’s a bit of the typical Big Bad “we don’t tolerate failures!” posturing, but they actually kinda do tolerate failures, as they keep Talon on the job.

And what is this job, exactly?  Well, it’s to eliminate Murphy.  (They refer to Talon’s failure to kill Murphy in the avalanche a “mistake.”)

But why the hell is Murphy so impossible to kill?  They could literally just shoot him any day of the week, coming out of his house.

But this isn’t even the hot issue, as far as the Seven are concerned.  Instead, they now want Talon’s top priority to be the murder of the senile old man from the newspaper article, who talked about the End Times.  Because that’s the best possible use of the world’s greatest assassin.


Meanwhile, the World’s Greatest Impossible to Kill Professor is keeping himself safe from master assassins by giving another open lecture (Stephanie is in attendance again, though without her cameraman this time) at his small-town college.  Surely Talon could never invade such a stronghold as this!

Murphy actually has some facts to relay about ancient Babylon this time, about how awesome their math and stuff was.  He also snidely mentions their divination practices, “superstition” which is totally different from using ancient religious texts to figure out when the world will end.

But Murphy can’t even let it go at that.  He talks about God’s warnings, like when he warned Noah about the flood and “warned” Belshazzar about a judgment of God by making his grandfather go insane (???).

“Isn’t it strange that we do the same thing today?  God gives us warnings.  He pleads with us and confronts us.  You may ask, ‘How does He do this?’ He does this through the still small voice of our conscience.  Our conscience tells us what is right and what is wrong.”

Wow.  Yanno, take out the God-does-our-conscience part, and this is basically atheist morality.  We all have a conscience (well, okay, most humans do) and it tells us what is right and wrong.  The only difference is that I don’t think, as Murphy does, that God uses our brains as a sort of antenna.  Murphy is skirting dangerously close to the idea that atheists can be moral persons—careful there, bud!

Is this man at all capable of giving a lecture on archaeology without it turning into a sermon?  Because it hasn’t happened once yet!


Posted on February 20, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Aroogah! Aroogah! We have departed from the Outline! (Praise be the Outline!)

    I think the Seven (they’ll stop at nothing!) ought to sent a brainwashed fanatic (I’m sure they can manage some) to kill Murphy during one of his lectures, for wearing mixed fibres and eating shrimp.

    Meanwhile, I didn’t see anything last time and I don’t see anything this time about why this guy raving about the End Times is more important than the dozens of others who do it every day.

    • In all fairness, there is a reason. At least, there’s a reason for the Seven to be interested. Not so much Pastor Bob and Murphy, though. But Phillips apparently can’t think of any other way to connect Murphy and the old guy.

  2. No, no, atheist can’t be moral. Our consience tells us worshipping god is good, and that gays, feminists and abortions are bad. Well, Murphy’s consience does, so he knows that everyone who claims his consience tells him something else is lying. Like lifelong monotheist Paul knew that everyone knows there is one true god, whatever those raised as polytheists and pagans may claim.

  3. Is this man at all capable of giving a lecture on archaeology without it turning into a sermon?

    Michael Murphy could be baking a cake and still turn it into a sermon.

    Murphy: “People in the Bible ate baked goods. Isn’t it strange that we do the same thing today? God gives us warm ovens. He kneads the dough with us and confronts us. You may ask, ‘How does He do this?’ He does this through the small grains of sodium bicarbonate. Our baking soda tells us that God is blessing us with light and fluffy cakes.”

    Student: “But doesn’t the Bible place special emphasis on unleavened bread?”

    Murphy: “That’s the Old Testament. Those rules don’t apply to us anymore.”

    Okay, up until this point I was just making a joke. But then I looked a bit into the matter and… *sigh* Turns out the question of whether Christians should use leavened or unleavened bread was an actual point of contention during the Great Schism of 1054. Wikipedia even provides this gem from an 11th century letter between bishops:

    The Lord, indeed, obeyed the law by first celebrating the legal pasch; but, as we learn from the Gospel, he subsequently instituted the new pasch…. He took bread, etc., that is, a thing full of life and spirit and heat. You call bread panis; we call it artos. This from airoel (airo), to raise, signifies a something elevated, lifted up, being raised and warmed by the ferment and salt; the azym, on the other hand, is lifeless as a stone or baked clay, fit only to symbolize affliction and suffering. But our Pasch is replete with joy; it elevates us from the earth to heaven even as the leaven raises and warms the bread, …

    There is no escaping Poe’s law, is there? There is no parody of Michael Murphy that I could make where a religious person wouldn’t have already made the same argument in seriousness.

  4. inquisitiveraven

    Oh, it gets better. Did you know that baking soda/powder doesn’t qualify as leaven to Ashkenazim? Leaven involves fermentation, which oddly enough means no soaking pulses for extended periods of time during Pesach either.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for February 26th, 2016 | The Slacktiverse

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